Research Title: Improving function and mobility using virtual reality in patients with ocular diseases
The early stages of eye diseases are often asymptomatic, leading to delayed diagnosis and management that can ultimately result in permanent vision impairment. Earlier detection and management of certain diseases can therefore result in better vision outcomes, improved daily function and mobility, thus improving quality of life and wellbeing. Functional vision remains largely unaddressed, where significant impairment in activities of daily living exist despite clinically falling “within normal limits”. Virtual reality, a growing area of interest in healthcare, has potential applications in both the early detection and rehabilitation of vision impairment in patients with certain eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and inherited ocular diseases, by utilising the concept of optic flow in an artificial environment. This project will involve five independent studies, four of which are conceptually-related. The first will assess the acceptance and need for low vision services in the public hospital system using a combination of low vision questionnaires and vision function assessments. The remaining four studies are organised into two main aims: the development and validation of a virtual reality program for low vision purposes. Of these, the first two studies address the two main aspects relating to the development of a virtual reality program: assessment of self-motion through the application of optic flow fields, and modelling of vision impairment respectively. The third and fourth studies will validate this program in independent patient cohorts with and without vision impairment in both stationary and dynamic settings. It is hypothesised that participants with eye disease will be interested in or require low vision services prior to a clinical diagnosis of impaired visual function. It is also hypothesised that perception of self-motion from information provided by optic flow through the use of virtual reality is not significantly impacted by early vision impairment and can potentially be an area used to improve rehabilitation in functionality and mobility in people experiencing low vision. This research can potentially improve on the current framework of low vision services by allowing earlier detection of disease for better vision outcomes, and earlier rehabilitation for better quality of life.
Wilson graduated from UNSW with a Bachelor of Optometry (Hons)/Bachelor of Science in 2015. Since graduating, Wilson has worked as a Staff Optometrist at private practices in rural NSW and metropolitan Sydney, clinic supervisor at UNSW as well as travelled overseas to provide eye care to the Nepalese Everest community. He has also held positions on the Young Optometrists NSW/ACT executive team and has been a speaker at several of their events. He is currently exploring the application of virtual reality in patients with eye disease at the Centre for Eye Health. He has interests in ocular pathology and advancements in technology to be used in eye care.
2015, B Optom (Hons)/B Sc (Hons)
APCV2019 Student Travel Award
Asia-Pacific Conference in Vision (2019)
AFFILIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS
Young Optometrists NSW/ACT